The campaigning group ‘Anonymous’ has put Sony in its sights, launching a denial of service attack against the company’s PlayStation network websites in protest at its legal pursuit of PS3 jailbreaker, ‘Geohot’.
“Congratulations! You are now receiving the attention of Anonymous. Your recent legal actions against fellow internet citizens, GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo have been deemed an unforgivable offense against free speech and internet freedom,” reads a message posted to a campaign website.
“Your suppression of this information [how to jailbreak the PS3] is motivated by corporate greed and the desire for complete control over the actions of individuals who purchase and use your products, at least when those actions threaten to undermine the corrupt stranglehold you seek to maintain over copywrong, oops, "copyright",” it continues before railing against the legal system itself.
A number of the global sites attacked were reported to have suffered intermittent disruption but all appeared to be back online by Tuesday morning, BST.
The inspiration for the latest attack is George Hotz, aka 'Geohot', who Sony accuses of having written and distributed software to unlock the PS3 games console to run 'unauthorised' software including unlicensed games.
Assuming Anonymous can be said to form a coherent group, its biggest challenge is perhaps now the sheer number of targets it has picked fights with, which grows by the week.
These range from corporate giants such as Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, to the tiny but contentious Westborough Baptist Church. They are also less than keen on the Church of Scientology and even rock musician Gene Simmons was targeted over his stance on digital rights management (DRM) and forthright views on music piracy.
Therein lies the problem of 'hacktivism' - it is simply very difficult to keep that number of enemies in its sights. It also looks as if the large companies ranged against what could be a disparate group are getting better at defending themselves against the scale of DDoS attack Anonymous is able to attack them with at the current time.
Supporters will claim that the disruption caused by Anonymous is probably less important than the publicity their actions attract. A bigger long-term issue could be that as time passes not everyone agrees with every cause and what started out as an alienated protest movement ends up itself alienating potential supporters.